Since we have discussed the different attempts to ban Hawaii fish collection before back in October of last year I thought I would mention that MASNA, the Marine Aquarium Societies of North America, started a new website dedicated to spreading the facts about the issues involved. For example take a look at this position statement:
Position Statement on Hawaii's Marine Aquarium Fishery
MASNA supports the Hawai'i marine aquarium fishery and the science-based management that makes it one of the most verifiably sustainable marine aquarium fisheries in the world. As per MASNA's Position Statement on Sustainable Marine Aquarium Fisheries, MASNA supports the role played by sustainable marine aquarium fisheries within the marine aquarium trade. The marine aquarium fishery in Hawai'i, especially the West Hawai'i fishery, is one of the best-studied and best-managed marine aquarium fisheries in the world. The amount of fisheries data available rivals that of any food fishery in the State, and state-employed fisheries managers have stated that if they cannot successfully manage the aquarium fishery, there is little hope for Hawai'i's other fisheries. The Marine Aquarium Societies of North America (MASNA) represents a community of North American aquarium organizations and thousands of individual aquarists passionate about marine animals and saltwater aquarium keeping.
Key Message Points Regarding Legislation Aimed at Closing Hawai'i's Aquarium Fishery
• Hawai'i's marine aquarium fishery is one of the best-studied and best-managed fisheries in the State, if not the world. It is better studied and better managed than many food fisheries that are generally deemed sustainable.
• Most of the measures seeking to close the marine aquarium fishery in Hawai'i are based on claims that the fishery is "devastating" Hawai'i's reefs. The data does not support these claims.
• Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) aquatic biologist Dr. William Walsh stated in testimony responding to allegations of devastation, "This is not devastation." Walsh was speaking specifically to the marine aquarium fishery in West Hawai'i, which is the largest aquarium fishery in the State. Walsh and his colleagues, as well as independent researchers, believe there is no credible scientific data showing a total ban on Hawai'i's marine aquarium fishery is warranted at this time.
• Surveys show populations of the two most commonly targeted marine aquarium fishes— the Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) and the Kole Tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus)—have increased even as collection has increased. The Yellow Tang population has increased by
over 300,000, and the Kole Tang population has increased by over one million since 1999.
• DLNR and DAR consider Hawai'i's marine aquarium fishery sustainable based on current data.
• There are no species of fishes currently collected for the marine aquarium trade in Hawai'i that are designated as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Likewise, there are no species of fish currently collected for the marine aquarium trade in Hawai'i that
are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species.
• While the marine aquarium fishery continues to be targeted for closure, other stressors—such as recreational fishing and commercial harvest—are receiving little, if any, attention despite their significant impact on the environment.
• In 2010 and 2011, the recreational catch for reef fishes exceeded the aquarium catch in West Hawai'i, where most Hawaiian marine aquarium fishes are collected. No recreational fishing license is required to fish for reef fishes in Hawai'i, and, unlike the marine aquarium fishery, the recreational fishery is virtually unregulated and understudied despite its impact.
If you have some time check out their site at Hawaiibanfactcheck.org
Also make sure to show your support and like their facebook page! Big word of thanks to MASNA for taking on this fight for all of us aquarists!